Why join a run group? Dare I answer a question with a question: Why not?
The feeling you get after completing a great run is unmatched…unless you’re Khaleesi and you’re able to ride dragons. (If you don’t get that reference stop reading right now…I’m not fucking kidding about this, stop reading, call in sick, and binge watch Game of Thrones. ) Now, where was I? The feeling you get after completing a great run is unmatched…it’s even better if you can share it with other people. At the risk of sounding lame as hell, it doesn’t matter what you do…but who you do it with.
Here are the top four reasons to join a run group, in no particular order:
People & Friendship
Our Manifesto says: Judge your success by the friends you meet and the high fives you give. I’ve never had friendships progress faster in my life than with the friends I run with. Why? Because when you spend multiple hours a week running/talking you learn a lot about a person. I mean a lot. When you’re on the side of the mountain 10 minutes away from heat stroke, any conversation topic is fair game. Sometimes it gets weird. And, just think, when was the last time you talked with any friend for three hours a week, four months in a row? Exactly!
So, you make these friends, and then you get to do a race (or multiple races) together! And really, it doesn’t matter if it’s a 5K or an Ulra Marathon, training and completing a goal with another person or group of people is truly a rare thing.
I know certain people love the solitary experience of running solo…I do too. But most run groups meet three times per week. That allows a lot of time to still get your solo runs in.
If you’re as lazy an SOB as I am, you really need to be held accountable. At times, I’ll use the most pathetic excuses to blow off a run or cut it short.
We’ve all been there; the schedule calls for a 12 mile training run that seems unattainable. So what do we do? We let doubt creep in the window of our mind like flying pig bird coming to amputate our arm…maybe that’s the wrong analogy, but I digress. We overthink it, make a mountain out of a mole hill. Next thing you know, 12 miles turns into 6 and you’re leaving the run disappointed instead of high on life.
When you’re in a group, two things happen. One, when you miss a run you’re not just breaking a deal with yourself, you’re breaking a deal with your friends. Two, it’s a lot easier to show up when you get to hang out with your friends. Running stops being exercise and starts being a time where you can shoot the shit with your friends while you sweat.
Makes You Better
How do you get better at anything? Fucking practice, right? Believe you me, practice is a lot easier and funnr (see what I did there?) when you have accountability and friendship built-in. Your level of training gets amplified by your peers. If you’re anything like me, you’ll half-ass a run three quarters of the time you’re by yourself, but when you’re with other people game on. In every run group there’s always someone faster than you to push you. (NOTE: If you’re the fastest person in your run group you need to find a new run group or cut off one toe.)
Besides the practice element, the amount of knowledge you get from your fellow runners is huge. It’s like learning magic at Hogwarts…no better place. How many GU’s do I need for a marathon? What type of shoes should I buy? What’s this pain? Ask a fellow runner.
If for no other reason, run groups are fun! For all the reasons I mentioned above and a thousand more, not to mention all the post-run beers!
There are a lot of amazing run groups out there. Do not be intimidated by joining…I can almost guarantee that you won’t be the slowest one or the fastest. Check your local running store or meetup.com to find one.